One of my gentle readers wrote this post regarding preaching that referenced one or my posts about preaching from around Christmas time. It seems worth discussing a little here. This is the link:
Here’s the final paragraph:
When this is what God works through sermon preparation, how can I speak of being bored or burned out? For any pastor who finds himself telling himself that he is bored or burned out, all that you really need is to stand back and remember whose Word you are called to preach. Then you will remember the great privilege and blessing of preaching. Then it will not seem like a laborious obligation, but a cause for rejoicing. The preaching office is Christâ€™s office, who Himself counted it a joy to suffer and die on the cross to provide this office with its power. This powerful office that opens the very gates of heaven to you and to all whom it rules over has been entrusted to you, dear pastors! Whenever you imagine that your office is boring or that you have become burned out, remember this! Remember what it really means to be a preacher of the Gospel!
I think it is fair to say that the author basically missed the point. We are not automatons. We are sinner/saints. And as a sinner/saint, I get frustrated, bored, burned out, whatever you want to call it with preaching. Just like anyone in nearly any vocation will not find satisfaction and happiness in the work God has given them to do.
I understand perfectly well the importance of preaching, the joy of preaching, that it is Christ’s office and work, and the like.
I also, by way of comparison, understand the importance of being a father, the joy of fathering, that it is God’s office and work, and the like. But as a human being, I get frustrated, tired, bored, out of energy, and easily distracted.
Why, gentle readers, would it be different for preachers? And furthermore, what is the solution?
I’ll tell you what isn’t the solution. The solution is not a variation of GET OVER IT, BE HAPPY, KNOW HOW IMPORTANT IT IS, or REMEMBER WHAT YOU’RE DOING. Those are all Law, and we know that the Law does not produce good works.
I would suggest that the solution is A) The Gospel. Be forgiven, be fed, hear God’s promises to you. B) Rest. Being a pastor is hard work. It’s not easily measurable, but that does not make it any less easy. Take a break. Breathe. Play. Do something else. And C) Know that you aren’t alone in your trials. Nearly every pastor I know recognizes the challenges of preaching. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Anyway, those are some further thoughts. Have I missed anything?